Transitional period changes for LDPs
Legal Disciplinary Practices (LDPs) – that is to say recognised bodies providing legal services where the owners and managers are not exclusively solicitors of England and Wales, registered European lawyers (RELs) or registered Foreign Lawyers (RFLs) – have for some time been aware that they will eventually need to transform into Alternative Business Structures.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has now written to all known legal disciplinary practices (LDPs) about the timescale for becoming an alternative business structure (ABS).
Since the introduction of ABSs in October 2011, any new firms that had non-lawyer owners or managers had to apply for a licence. Those LDPs that existed on this date are in a transitional period, during which they can remain as recognised bodies, or apply to become an ABS.
The Legal Services Board (LSB) is now considering the transitional period, and is holding a further consultation exercise. The SRA has therefore contacted all LDPs listed in its database to inform them of their options.
Lawyer-only LDPs will remain as recognised bodies, but will need to apply to be licensed as an ABS if their structures are changed to bring in non-lawyer managers or external ownership/investment. Firms planning to apply for an ABS licence are encouraged to do this as soon as possible, rather than wait until just before the end of the transitional period.
Any firm that would like to talk to the SRA about their plans please contact the Firm-Based Authorisation Team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 0121 329 6835.